New O’Keefe video: N.Y. National Guardsmen say “It’s just the flu”

There is a new video out by James O’Keefe. The founder of Project Veritas and a colleague took a trip to a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in New Rochelle, a community that has been labeled as a hot spot. The location of the testing site in New Rochelle is Glen Island Park.

O’Keefe explains at the beginning of the video that he has followed the established procedure and called ahead, explained that he doesn’t have symptoms of the coronavirus but has been traveling a lot and interacting with people who may have it. He was told by the New York State Health Department that he could take the test.

O’Keefe was asked by one National Guardsman to not take any video or photography because of HIPPA regulations and O’Keefe responds affirmatively. He says he will delete a photo he took when he is asked to do so, and he apologized for taking the photograph.

He goes through the whole process on camera. I assume his companion is filming it, though that person is never seen on camera – only a bit of his shoulder is visible. The first guardsman explains how the test works and that it the experience of being tested is worse for kids than for adults. Then O’Keefe asks if the pandemic is as bad as the media portrays it to be. “Oh no. It’s just, it’s just the flu”, is his response. He explained, “It affects everyone differently.” The second guardsman tells him the testing is “just being precautious.” A third tells O’Keefe that he’s not a doctor or a biologist but that they want to ensure the public’s safety. He says it is not just the flu, it is worse.

A nurse comes and performs the test. When O’Keefe questions her about how bad the virus really is, she explains it is different for different people. Some experience bad symptoms, some don’t. She admits they don’t know because “it’s so new”. O’Keefe lucks out with the timing of his test. That day the nurse was able to administer a less invasive way of inserting the swab – it didn’t have to go all the way into his nose as deemed necessary earlier. She swabs his mouth, too. She says they (at the testing site) are taking it day by day but she knows some cases are bad.

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So, the experience was filmed but no still photography was shown. I’m not an expert here but I think HIPPA is in place mainly to protect the privacy of the patient, which in this situation is O’Keefe. The guardsmen and the nurse are shown following procedure so there shouldn’t be any liability issues for them. Their protective gear covers up their faces on camera.

What this video does is show exactly why so many of us are confused. Yes, James O’Keefe is a provocateur but he does expose some stories the public should see. This video may be one of them. The guardsmen, not the medical professionals, downplay the seriousness of the coronavirus and the professionals (like nurse Alyssa) calmly tell what they know to be true. The virus affects everyone differently, children are more uncomfortable with the testing than adults, and the virus is not the flu – it is real and it is worse. Also, it’s a new coronavirus and we just don’t know what we don’t know yet.

In the meantime, I know what I am going to do. I’m listening to daily briefings given by the experts, listening to my local elected officials to keep up with how my city is coping with the COVID-19 outbreak, and I’m am sheltering-in-place just as much as I possibly can. I literally only go out to go pick up medication at the drugstore, go to the bank (the drive-thru is the only option there), and run in as quickly as I can into the grocery store and stay as far away from others as possible while I do so. Most all of those things I can do without getting out of my car. And, yes, if I had a mask, I’d be wearing it in public, too. Mock all that if you will. My immune system is comprised and I will do whatever it takes to avoid this thing. I also don’t want to expose my husband and grown son to it. I can tell you that the one experience I’ve had going into a grocery store since the great hunkering down period began involved a masked, gloved store worker offering me a grocery cart and wiping down the handle first before I entered the store. I was grateful for that gesture.

We don’t know what we don’t know. We can take care of ourselves and those around us, though. I would rather overreact with safety precautions than not. My situation is different than that of the vast majority of people. I work from home. Some of these precautions I do anyway. Being inside my home for an extended period of time now is doable. We can do this without freaking out in panic or brushing off the potential dangers of this virus.

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